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June 18 , 2008

Secret Revolution

Memoirs of a spy boss


In the murky world of espionage few rules apply. Everything is permitted in the name of state security - even talking to the country's Enemy No. 1. This is exactly what Niël Barnard, then head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), did in the late 1980s. On instruction of PW Botha, he started top-secret talks with Nelson Mandela in prison. Not even Cabinet was informed. In Secret Revolution Barnard reveals, for the first time, the details of these meetings - the precursor to Mandela's release and the first democratic elections. Barnard's disclosures offer fascinating insights into Mandela the man, his convictions and strategic reasoning. The book also sheds light on the daily lives of spies during NIS's heyday in the 1980s and contains several revelations: From the secret communication channel NIS established with the KGB and the British operatives caught spying on South Africa's nuclear capability to ministers' sexual escapades.

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